Explaining the difference between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies

Doctor explains difference between COVID-19, seasonal allergies

CHARLOTTE — Many people are experiencing allergies this season while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but doctors said there are major differences with symptoms.

Doctors said you will never get a fever with seasonal allergies.


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Dr. Puja Rajani, with Novant Health, said a fever is the No. 1 distinguish between the coronavirus and seasonal allergies.

Another way to tell if it's allergies or a virus is fatigue and body aches.

If you're feeling tired or sore, those are symptoms associated with COVID-19 and the flu.

Allergies can sometimes cause fatigue but it's more prolonged, doctors said.

Body aches and muscle soreness are a sign that you have something more severe.

One symptom common in both allergies and COVID-19 is a cough, but usually a cough associated with seasonal allergies comes other symptoms like a runny nose, Rajani said.

“Itching, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, runny nose: These are not features of coronavirus, in specific,” Rajani said. “So, with COVID-19, you don’t get the runny nose and usually the runny nose, with allergies is clear and watery eyes. It’s clear discharge versus things that are infectious that can be yellowish or greenish, like if you have a sinus infection, that’s usually what you see.”

Shortness of breath is also a symptom of the coronavirus.

Rajani said shortness of breath is not usually associated with seasonal allergies unless you are someone who has asthma that can flare up because of allergens.